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Today’s guest: Raj Deut, Raj Deut, Lead developer for @efront, writer for @ReckonerAU
While CNN and the New York Times reported that a US agency would tie the attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment to North Korea, we have as yet received no such statement. Instead White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters only that the attack was done by a “sophisticated actor,” and he was not in a position to confirm a nation as responsible. Earnst said the US National Security Council was considering a proportionate response mindful that some organizations or individuals might try to enhance their standing by provoking a specific response. Meanwhile Variety reports a spokesman for Sony saying the studio has no further release plans for “The Interview.” And The Daily Beast reports three movie theaters have said Paramount studios has ordered them to stop planned screenings of Team America: World Police.
The Verge reports Microsoft’s obligation to provide users a screen promoting choices in browsers has expired after five years. Microsoft will remove the so-called Browser Ballot saying, “the Browser Choice Update will no longer be delivered to new users.”
The Next Web reports messaging app maker Line is acquiring Microsoft’s MixRadio music streaming service. MixRadio will continue maintain its personalized music service fro Microsoft’s Lumia phones. MixRadio was developed as a Nokia service before its handset division was acquired by Microsoft. The deal is expected to be completed in early 2015.
Engadget reports that Micromax has revealed its first Yu (that’s Y-U) smartphone, the Yureka (that’s Y-U-reka). The exclusive collaboration with Cyanogen was the reason the OnePlusOne smartphone was banned this week in India. The Yureka costs $142, and has the Cyanogen modified version of Android KitKat. It is the first 64 bit device supported by Cyanogen, although the benefits of that support won’t come until the Cyanogen version of Android Lollipop arrives.
CNET reports Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was angry and upset by information leaked to the public as part of emails stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment. In a memo to employees that he later posted on Twitter Spiegel wrote, “I felt like I was going to cry all morning, so I went on a walk and thought through a couple things.” He also wrote: “We keep secrets because we get to do our work free from judgement — until we’re ready to share it. We keep secrets because keeping secrets gives you space to change your mind until you’re really sure you’re right.”
Finally some good news if you’re an Uber executive. TechCrunch reports that Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi app is no longer coming to India. Easy Taxi will also scale down operations in Hong Kong and Indonesia in order to focus on other markets. Stiff competition and wads of cash raised by Uber and SoftBank-backed Grab Taxi may have contributed to the move. Easy Taxi covers 160 cities in 40 countries with a focus on emerging markets.
Hey Windows Phone users, The Verge reports Microsoft has started rolling out the Lumia Denim updates to its Lumia devices. Among the changes are a new Lumia Camera update that is faster and supports 4K-quality videos. The updates are not coming to all phones in all countries at once. A wider rollout of Lumia Denim to all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to begin in early January. Till then you may want to keep an eye on the Microsoft support site.
News From You
dmmacs sends us word that Amazon has launched Prime Now, a one-hour delivery option for Amazon Prime members in select areas of Manhattan. Tech Crunch reports that the service will cover tens of thousands of “essential products” like batteries, books and paper towels. The service is accessible via a dedicated Prime Now app for iOS and Android and delivers between 6 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week. One-hour delivery costs $7.99 but two-hour delivery is free for Prime subscribers. The service should roll out to additional cities in 2015.
AllanAV posted the TorrentFreak article that researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands released the first version of their anonymous and decentralized BitTorrent network called Tribler. The service searches for torrents through peers rather than a centralized service and deals with spam by raising trackers with more likes from users. Tribler also includes a built-in Tor-like network which preserves anonymity. Please keep in mind that while many people use torrents for questionable purposes, anonymity and the Bittorrent protocol are not and in my opinion should not be illegal and do not imply criminal activity.
starfuryzeta sent us the amazing story of a man named Les Baugh who now has two bionic arms that he can control with his mind. Engadget reports that Les lost both of his arms at the shoulder level forty years ago. But thanks to a DARPA funded prosthetics project at Johns Hopkins, Les Baugh can now move cups from one shelf to another just by thinking. First he underwent a procedure called muscle reinnervation which reassigned nerves that used to control his arms and hands. The team recorded the patterns his brain makes for each muscle and then they had him control virtual arms to train his brain. Then they designed a custom socket for his torso for the prosthetics and attached the Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Even more amazing, Baugh was able to control a combination of motions across both arms at the same time. What would he like to be able to do with these once he can use them all the time? [[PLAY BITE]] So let’s all raise a glass to RoboLes to celebrate the fact that he can raise one right back at us.
Discussion Links: Australia and Sony
Pick of the Day: Tiesta Tea via Sheala in Georgia
Thought I’d give some balance to the caffeine force with a tea recommendation.
Try Tiesta tea. They have a great selection of a variety of teas all packed nicely is tins. Haven’t found a flavor I didn’t like yet.